Ukraine backs EU sanctions against officials allegedly involved in kidnapping Lukashenka critics

In February, the European Union prolonged the restrictive measures against Belarus for one year, until 28 February 2021. On Tuesday, Ukraine supported the decision.

“These measures include an embargo on arms and on equipment that could be used for internal repression, as well as an asset freeze and travel ban against four people designated in connection with the unresolved disappearances of two opposition politicians, one businessman and one journalist in 1999 and in 2000,” the Council of the European Union said on February, 17.

Then the Council also prolonged the derogation to the restrictive measures to allow the export of biathlon equipment and limited number of specific-use sporting rifles and sporting pistols to Belarus.

“The Candidate Countries Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA countries Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this decision,” the official statement released on March, 31 reads.

The countries that adhered to the decision ensure that their national policies conform to it.

In the early 2000s, after the disappearance of former Interior MinisterYury Zakharanka, politician Viktar Hanchar, businessman Anatol Krasouski and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski, there were reports about the so-called ‘death squads’ that abduct and kill the dissidents. In 2004, the European Union imposed personal sanctions on four persons who might have been involved in or aware of the kidnappings – former Interior Minister Uladzimir Naumau, former head of the presidential administration Viktar Sheyman, Yury Sivakou, who occupied the post of the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs during the disappearance of politicians, and Dzmitry Paulichenka, commander of the special forces brigade of the Interior Ministry.

Additional restrictive measures were adopted in 2011 against those involved in the violation of international electoral standards and international human rights law, as well as in the crackdown on civil society and democratic opposition. The arms embargo was introduced in the same year.

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